From the pages of the Down Recorder, February 9, 1994

From the pages of the Down Recorder, February 9, 1994

7 February 2024

KILLYLEAGH – Businessmen in Killyleagh are still counting the cost of last week’s vandal attacks in the town which were carried out under the cover of darkness.

Several shops, a chapel and a public house were targeted during an orgy of destruction, which caused damage estimated at several hundred pounds to premises at several locations.

And the RUC has launched a major investigation into the “outrageous behaviour” of the unruly mob which went on the rampage after 70 per cent of homes in the Province were plunged into darkness by a power failure.

The investigation will centre around the movements of the crowd and follows calls by the Town Committee for those responsible to be brought before the courts.

A local businessman who heard a number of windows being smashed at several shops went outside to investigate and met a crowd of around 40 people in Frederick Street.

Police say the crowd used the cover of darkness to smash windows at the Hamilton Arms in Catherine Street before moving to Maguire’s Mace shop where several other windows were smashed.

A cake shop at Irish Street also had several windows smashed by the unruly mob and a number of other business premises are believed to have been targeted, including the town’s video shop, during the early hours of the morning.

DOWNPATRICK – Downpatrick will almost certainly get a new hospital – but not before the turn of the century.

With the current hospitals crisis all but over, the Recorder has learned that influential figures within the Department of Health favour waiting for several years before considering a new purpose-built hospital to replace the Downe.

Advances being made in medical science, along with budgetary difficulties, are believed to be the main reasons why a major push for a new hospital will not be made until at least 1998, and possibly after the year 2000.

If the hospital gets the go-ahead, it is likely to be of the cottage variety and may not have acute services such as accident and emergency and coronary care, concentrating on minor surgery with patients returning home the same day.

BALLYNAHINCH – Ballynahinch traders have demanded a meeting with senior Department of Environment chiefs to discuss the major improvement work which is being carried out in the town.

They are angry with the state in which some of the roads have been left while work continues on laying a new watermain and constructing a traffic management system.

However, they have backed away from collectively seeking compensation for lost business since the work commenced at the start of the year.

Despite claims by some businessmen that their takings were down by almost 50 per cent, anyone seeking cash aid for lost trade will almost certainly have to go it alone.

During a public meeting in the town’s community centre last week, only a handful of traders turned up to formulate a way forward in a bid to ensure that disruption would be minimal.

NEWCASTLE – Newcastle’s lifeboatmen have been praised for spending over four hours at sea during last Thursday’s horrendous storm.

The lifeboat crew braved 30 foot waves and, at times, hurricane force winds, to go to the aid of two trawlers who had got into difficulties near Kilkeel harbour.

Coxed by mechanic Joe Leneghan, the new Mersey class lifeboat, the Eleanor and Bryant Girling, was launched into very high seas at 2.20 on Thursday afternoon.

With the condition of the seas, and the strong sough easterly gales, which at times gusted to force 12, the lifeboat did not reach the trawler, Solitare, until 4pm.

Along with Clogherhead lifeboat, the Newcastle craft stood by as an RAF helicopter put a pump aboard the stricken vessel which was eventually escorted into Carlingford Lough by the Clogherhead boat.

SEAFORDE – A new ambulance service outpost at Seaforde has proved immediately successful at cutting response times to Newcastle and Castlewellan.

Just before the station was opened on Monday morning, paramedics putting the finishing touches to the building received an emergency call to Castlewellan and reached the casualty within seven minutes, much quicker than previous response times from Downpatrick.

This improved response time to areas such as Castlewellan, Newcastle and Ballynahinch, is the reason the outpost was provided and, according to the Eastern Ambulance Service’s Chief Executive, it fills a gap in ambulance cover in hte south of Down District.

Mr Alan Murray, who visited the new station on Monday, said he was confident the new outpost would speed up emergency performance to the rural community of Down District.

CASTLEWELLAN – Castlewellan’s regeneration programme is to proceed at full pace following public endorsement of the three-phase programme last week.

At a special consultation meeting on Wednesday a cross-section of the town’s business community and residents gave the £1m programme their seal of approval, clearing the way for work to start within weeks.

With the exception of a few points, the highly constructive meeting ironed out the half dozen worries raised at a previous public meeting before Christmas when the scheme had been unveiled to the town for the first time.

The three-pronged scheme involves the construction of a £500,000 language school and accommodation centre in Castle Avenue, environmental improvements to  the town’s Main Street, at a cost of £130,000, and a business grant scheme providing property owners with the opportunity of refurbishment.

SAINTFIELD – Two pupils at Saintfield High School will today receive prestigious “Child of Achievement” awards.

Viola Johnston and Christopher Tate, were both nominated for the competition – which is sponsored by fast-food giants, McDonalds – along with 148other children from across the United Kingdom.

The awards are presented annually to children under 16 who, by their everyday tasks, help others, or who by their ability, have overcome personal illness or disability.

Now in their 12th year, the awards will officially be handed over this morning at a glittering presentation ceremony at London’s Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.

DOWNPATRICK – It’s going to be a yankee doodle summer for two soccer-mad Downpatrick boys.

Ryan Doyle (12) and Gerard Murray (11) are off to America in July with a cross-community Northern Ireland U-12 team to take part in a major youth tournament.

The trip of a lifetime also includes a week-long coaching course and a chance to cheer on the Republic in the World Cup.

The month-long trip will take the boys half way across the United States. They spend a week in Boston before travelling to Minnesota for the USA Cup, which has attracted 30 countries from around the globe.

After that, they return to east for a week in New York and tickets for one of the World Cup quarter-finals. There’s also the possibility of seeing the Republic, provided Jack Charlton’s team reach the second round stage.

ARDGLASS – A fisherman was saved from drowning and a trawler almost sank at its moorings as Ardglass and the Co Down coast took the brunt of one of the worst storms to hit the district in living memory.

Huge waves, whipped up by 80mph winds, battered the fishing port and its trawler fleet throughout Thursday and Friday.